ASLTIP Complaints Policy
THE ASSOCIATION OF SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPISTS (ASLTIP)
MEDIATION OF COMPLAINTS POLICY
Last updated draft for members of public –December 2012
1. INTRODUCTION AND THE ROLE OF ASLTIP
- ASLTIP is a professional association for independent speech and language therapists. ASLTIP is not a regulatory body. All speech & language therapists are regulated by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).
- ASLTIP deals with queries and concerns relating to ASLTIP members. It can mediate in relation to concerns and complaints about a member and in so doing demonstrate to its members, the public, the appropriate authorities and to the wider profession that concerns are taken seriously and addressed, with every attempt being made to achieve resolution.
- ASLTIP deals with a small number of complaints concerning members each year, the majority of which are resolved through mediation. Very few formal complaints are lodged. The intention of ASLTIP is to deal with all complaints effectively, efficiently and economically in an informal manner.
- Complaints against members may come from a variety of sources, directly or indirectly to ASLTIP or other authorities.
- Complaints may be made direct to the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) without the knowledge or involvement of ASLTIP. In these circumstances, an ASLTIP member may contact ASLTIP for guidance and advice and be offered neutral support and advice, where appropriate, pending the outcome of the HCPC investigation. A copy of correspondence offering support will also be lodged with HCPC. Any mediation with the complainant will, at that point, cease.
2. ASLTIP COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
2.1 Mediation and Conciliation
- Where possible members of the public are advised to contact the therapist involved directly and raise their concern with them to see if the issue can be resolved informally.
- If this is not possible, or the concern remains unresolved, a member of the public has the option of raising this concern with ASLTIP.
At this stage it is possible that the concern can be resolved by prompt, thorough, local and informal conciliation before it is logged as a formal complaint. Members of the ASLTIP Board of Directors may take the role of intermediary (as may an NHS Manager in the public sector) to help achieve this.
2.2. Formal Complaint
If conciliation fails, or if either party is unwilling to attempt conciliation, then the complainant will be advised to submit a formal complaint to the Secretary of ASLTIP in writing. Complaints should normally be made within six months of the incident or the time it was discovered.
2.3. Documentation and request for information
Within fourteen days of receipt of the formal complaint the Secretary of ASLTIP will:
- Write to the complainant acknowledging receipt of the complaint and provide a copy of the complaints procedure. Some complaints will not be able to be dealt with without confidential information being disclosed to the subject of the complaint and ASLTIP ; therefore the letter from ASLTIP will explain this to the complainant. Their permission to release confidential information relating to the complaint will be requested (see section below re confidentiality) and the secretary will inform the complainant that they may have to give evidence to the HCPC.
- Write to the respondent (the ASLTIP member who is the subject of the complaint) advising of receipt of the complaint and providing details of the complaint and a copy of the complaints procedure. Members should co-operate and liaise closely with ASLTIP with regard to obtaining consent for disclosure of confidential information for these investigations.
ASLTIP appreciates members have a duty of confidentiality to their patients/clients. However members of ASLTIP and the public need to be aware that ASLTIP would be unable to investigate thoroughly without full details of the issue, some of which may be confidential information.
Members should co-operate and liaise closely with ASLTIP to obtain consent to the disclosure of confidential information for these investigations. In all instances the member should provide all necessary patient contact details to ASLTIP in order that ASLTIP may obtain consent from a third party to the information being disclosed to ASLTIP. Alternatively, members may obtain the required written consent themselves.
2.5. Investigating Committee
- All formal complaints concerning ASLTIP members will be dealt with by the Investigating Committee.
- The ASLTIP Board of Directors will appoint an Investigating Committee comprising three persons to consider the complaint, usually the chair, vice chair and secretary.
- It may be necessary for the investigating committee to co-opt another member of the Board to assist with the investigation.
- The Committee will investigate the complaint. This may involve contacting the complainant ,witnesses and the member in writing, by telephone, email, or meeting in person. Both parties are required to co-operate fully with this investigation.
In some cases it may be necessary for ASLTIP to seek legal advice which may delay the mediation.
- The Committee will attempt to bring about reconciliation between the parties wherever possible. Meetings may be arranged between the parties in conflict. Members should co-operate fully in attending such meetings.
- The Committee will endeavour to resolve the complaint promptly and where appropriate make a recommendation as set out below.
2.6. The Secretary
- The ASLTIP Secretary shall act as the administrator for the Committee and shall be responsible for gathering information from the relevant parties and presenting this information to members of the investigating committee.
- The Secretary of ASLTIP will notify the complainant and member in writing of the Committee’ decision usually within 21 days of the panel's decision. This letter will be sent by recorded delivery.
- As a result of the investigation the Committee may recommend :-
- A member seeks their own legal advice, if needed.
- Further training, clinical audit or peer review of the member. (The cost to be met by the member).
- Referral to HCPC.
Notes: Professional Conduct
All practising SLTs are bound by the HPC standards of conduct, performance and ethics (www.hcpc-uk.org).
See also RCSLT guidance on best practice in Communicating Quality 3 (www.rcslt.org.uk ).
Referral to HCPC
If several minor complaints about the same member have been reported this may indicate a pattern of conduct which gives rise about a professional’s fitness to practice. ASLTIP is required to keep a Record of Concern and notify HCPC accordingly.
Matters involving ethical or professional misconduct will automatically be referred to the Health & Care Professions Council by ASLTIP.